May 2020

Good morning to each one. We are enjoying such beautiful weather the last few days, in the 70’s, sunshine, just perfect weather. It makes a person glad to be alive.

On Friday I stopped at a greenhouse just to browse, one I rarely get to anymore, but was in the area and decided to stop. When I saw how empty their greenhouses were, (they have 3 – 4 to shop in, plus more for growing more plants) I decided I’d better get mine bought while I still have picking choices. I bought a few, but didn’t have a list, and wasn’t sure what I really needed. When I got home, I made a list, then went to the one I usually go to and they still had a better supply, accordingly. They aren’t as large. Not quite as many choices, maybe. I called Crystal and told her; she also went. There was still time after I got home to work up the flowerbeds. I worked in the retail store on Saturday, but in the evening, I did get most of the ones planted at home. Now for the ones at the cheese plant this week. I saw they dropped the low temperature to 33° for the end of the week, hopefully my plant won’t all freeze.

Business has been picking up in the retail store, especially on Saturday’s. People are tired of being cooped up, are ready to get out and about. It feels good to have it busier again. We also had a large order come in 2 weeks ago, for 6 oz. pieces. 6 pallets, with 320 cases on a pallet, 12 pieces in a case, that took a lot of cutting, packaging and labeling. Everyone in the cutting room worked as many days as they could, I was helping to label most days. Plus, there were the pieces that didn’t weigh the right amount, they also had to be labeled. We now have an abundant supply of random weights on hand. We finished on Friday; the order gets picked up Tuesday. Some days there were 8 of us working, it sure helps to get the work finished with many hands. This week there won’t be as much work for everyone again, just a couple days a week for each, unless more orders come. We have a couple right now. Hopefully with things starting to open up more, we can get back to normal before long. 

We added a new vat to the make room, there are now 3. They have the capability of running 6 vats a day when needed. We added another producer the other week, they will need to do 6 vats at least one day a week, the other days 5 vats. The milk hauling schedule had to be changed to accommodate the extra milk. There are different factors that come into play, how much the milk silo can hold at a time, how fast we can process it. We may only hold the milk 72 hours, it has to be scheduled to make sure the amounts coming in, can be processed in that time. Also, to make the vats hold out so we can run full vats, and not two-part vats. There is more involved than meets the eye, it’s not always simple to figure it out.  On Saturday the electrician and refrigeration people were working, they needed to work on Saturday when they weren’t making cheese. The electricians finished in a few hours, the refrigeration fellows were there till after 8 pm. Pipes needed to be changed, couldn’t have several of them on the ceiling above the new vat. They had to be rerouted. It takes time to make all the adjustments. They had some issues when they first started using the new vat, Junior finally thought about it, he wonders if a certain place was properly tightened. He checked, it wasn’t, after that it took care of the issue. Somewhere water was leaking out overnight, then it had to be filled back up to heat the vats. Bit by bit, they are getting the bugs worked out.

Last week the curd order almost doubled, the cutting room girls thought there would be no end. They had over 800 lbs. to bag. That is typical for summertime, the last while there was barely 500 lbs. so it is picking up again. We are bagging curds in the old cutting room, the make room is too full with the new vat, another equipment cart and 2 more presses. There is more room in the old cutting room, and its rather nice with not as many people. 5 from the cutting room and all the make room, gets a bit jammed. In 2 weeks, Vera & Susie won’t be there, I will likely help them that day.

A couple weeks ago I finished quilting a quilt for granddaughter Jessica’s single bed. Crystal pieced it; she came a few times to help quilt. We had it in for 3½ weeks. Quilting is something I enjoy, but this time of the year not as much. I like being outside, quilting is for wintertime.

Another wintertime hobby of mine is puzzles. These last Sunday’s since we aren’t having church or going visiting, I’ve been allowing myself to do them. But I think this is the last, hopefully we can go to church soon, we do have services on the phone, but there is nothing like seeing the people and fellowshipping. That is a big part of going to church, we discovered. My family would also like to have a gathering once again. We usually do once a month, its been several now. And our children, there are 16 of us in this area, so we haven’t been getting together either, to keep it under the 10-people limit. One of these weekends we can have a cookout or something.

The farmers are making good use of this nice weather. Junior was hauling hog manure, I guess he has the pit empty, it was close to it Saturday afternoon. Rufus was working ground for Mark Saturday afternoon. Something he doesn’t do much of anymore. He was a little sore from bouncing on the tractor seat.

Since Rufus is home more, he does more cooking. He enjoys it more than I do. On Saturday forenoon he made granola, and rye bread. He is a better cook than I am, he will take the time to do the extra steps, in browning something, or seasoning, etc. It’s too much bother to me, I just don’t enjoy it. I like his cooking, just don’t like to do it! I don’t mind cooking, just not the extra fine details. He and dau-in-law Rachel can spend time talking about food, I play with the children when they get into those discussions. They made croissants the other week. They are good to eat, but oh my, the time it takes to make them, all the little steps and details, if it’s up to me, we’ll do without!

We are still waiting on the offices in the new building, still no internet connection. There was a wrong part, or missing part, and it’s taking very long to get here, seems like. Once we get that set up, we can move the FedEx shipping to the new building. We still have it in the former one, so we can print the shipping labels. We also started an on-line store, that makes more shipping to do. We have to keep taking cheese from the new building to the other one, making it unhandy. Bit by bit we will get there.

Wishing each one a safe and healthy month.

Jane Musser

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